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Yampi July 27, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Flat and Fried Breads, out of the griddle.
18 comments

I love cuisines that are versatile, that allow me to play with the ingredients. I love Indian Cuisine for that matter. Any vegetable, fruit, Legume or grain, we can easily turn it into delicious food. All we need is to understand the nature of the food item that we choose, the spices that will complement it and the method that will make it presentable and palatable. Sounds challenging, huh? Yes. It is! If you have to feed the picky eaters, the process turns tough too. 🙂

I always love to take that challenge and opportunity to try new food items. When I was searching for a vegetable that starts with alphabet “Y“, for Nupur’s A-Z of Vegetables Event, I came across “Yampi“.

Yampi_cut

Yampi is a Yam variety from Jamica. I could gather only this much information from internet. I had to explore myself and find a way to use it in recipes. As I didn’t know how it will taste or its texture, I decided to cook the yampi alone. I poked small holes on the yampi with a fork and popped into microwave oven. I set it to cook on “Potato Setting” (which is approximately 3 minutes in 100% power).

The yampi started cooking and the cooking smell brought everybody at home, to kitchen. Oh! No! No! It is not that fragrant. It had a distinct odor that none of us could tolerate. It made me think that I made a mistake. My husband’s face looked like “Dinner? Forget it!”. 🙂

But, I wanted to give it a chance. So, I let it cook completely. When it cooled down to room temperature, I peeled the skin off and tasted a small bit to check whether it had the distinct odor in the starchy part too. My goodness! It didn’t! Yampi tasted like Taro and had the texture of Sweet Potato. I felt lucky and started my “exploration” vehicle with “Creativity” Fuel. Want a ride?

Travel Plan : Yampi Paratha

Travel Necessities:

2 Yampi roots, cooked and mashed
2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
3 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Oil
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoon Amchur (Dry Mango Powder)
1/4 teaspoon Red chilli powder
1 pinch Asafetida
1 pinch Turmeric powder

Travel Preperation 1 : Paratha Dough

Mix the whole wheat flour, 1 teapoon salt, oil and knead to a soft dough with the help of water. Cover it with damp cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Travel Preperation 2 : Yampi Stuffing

Mix the cooked yampi, cilantro, 2 teaspoons salt, Garam masala, Amchur, Red chilli powder, Asafetida and Turmeric powder. Shape it in to lime sized balls.

Travel Guide:

1. Take a lemon sized ball of the paratha dough and pat it into 3 inch discs. Place a ball of yampi stuffing in the center and bring the edges of the dough together. Pinch well to seal.

Yampi_prepared

2. Roll the prepared ball of dough with the stuffing in to a 4-5 inch disc

Yampi_rolled

3. Heat a griddle until a small drop of water evaporates immediately. Place the rolled paratha on the hot griddle and cook until brown spots appear on both sides

Yampi_cooked

4. Serve with Simple dal or Curry and Yogurt.

Travel Experience :

The texture was like “Aloo Paratha” (Potato paratha) with the taste of taro in the place of Potato.

Sourdough Naan (Leavened Flat Bread of India) July 25, 2007

Posted by live2cook in Flat and Fried Breads, Sour dough.
27 comments

“Naan”!

Every time I hear the word, I smile. Of course, the recipe is from Punjab, India. Apart from that, there is yet another reason for that smile.

As I always mention, I am from a traditional and conservative town of Southern India. Though the town is technologically developed, changes to tradition are accepted very slowly. This applies to Food and Tastes too. One can find only South Indian Dishes in my town. Very few high end restaurants have North Indian dishes like Channa Masala in their menu.

One day, a cousin of our neighbor(my friend) came to our town for her summer holidays. She was from Mumbai. As we were of the same age, we quickly became friends. We talked about everything. She was explaining to us about a party at her school. The Talk turned towards the food they ordered for their party. She was talking about the baaji, subji and Naan.

The moment the cousin said the word “Naan”, both me and my friend were astonished. Most of the families in our neighborhood are vegetarians. Very few families eat meat, that too rarely. If they cooked meat at home, they say, “I cooked “Non” today!”. They don’t say what kind of meat they cooked. Anything from chicken to lamb meat is “Non”.

As the sound and pronunciation of “Naan” and “Non” are same, as we had never seen or heard about “Naan”, we took “Naan” for “Non”. And top of all, we were afraid of what will happen if elders in the family hear us talking about “Non” . We ended the topic there and it was secret between me and my friend that her cousin ate “Non”.

We maintained the secret very well. Both got married. My friend settled down in Bangalore and I came to US. My husband took me to a nearby Punjabi Restaurant. It was our first dining out in US. I asked him about the restaurant’s specialty. He said their “Naan” is the best. I screamed “You eat Non!!!!”. He said “Yes!!!!”. Both looked at each other and the look meant “Are you Crazy?!!!”

In the restaurant’s buffet table, I saw the “Naan”. Now, You know how I felt and the story behind the smile🙂.

Ok! Now it is time to talk about preparing the “Naan”.

Ingredients:

1 cup Active sourdough starter
2 cups Unbleached All Purpose flour
1/4 cup Home made Yogurt
2 tablespoons Oil
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda

Method for Preparing the Dough:

1. Mix the starter,yogurt,sugar,1/2 teaspoon salt and flour. Knead to a smooth dough. Add water or flour as necessary.
2. Cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel and keep in a warm place. Allow to double in bulk.
3. Punch down and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Knead well to incorporate the salt and soda.
4. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Roll or shape into circles or oblongs.

Method for cooking the Naan:

I used to cook the Naan like the method explained by Coffee of “The Spice Cafe”. After seeing my passion for cooking and the efforts it takes to cook a Naan, my Mother-in-law sent me a wonderful Gift, A “stove top Tandoor”. Though it is not made up of clay like traditional Tandoor, this stove top Tandoor does a wonderful job.

Tandoor

After shaping the Naan, I will sprinkle few drops of water on the Naan and stick it to the inside of the lid and close the Tandoor. As it is a hollow drum below, direct heat from the stove helps the Naan to cook evenly.

Naan on lid

It takes 3 minutes to cook 3 Naan simultaneously . To quicken the process I will place the Naan that are cooked on one side, upon the grill provided in the Drum. In the meanwhile, I will stick other 3 Naan to the lid.

Naan on Grill

When the Naan is done on both sides, I will brush the top with few drops of Butter or Ghee and cover with a Fresh Tea towel. This will help the Naan to soften a bit. The Naan will be Ready to serve.

Naan on Plate

This Stove top Tandoor is a thoughtful gift. I am exploring the possibilities with it. I Prepared a veggie Kebab and it turned out well.

Kebab

This is my entry for Lakshmi’s RCI Event, hosted by Richa and to thank my mother-in-law for the wonderful gift. My In-Laws are visiting us soon. This blog is going to be a pleasant surprise for them. I can’t wait to see the smile in their faces.

Yes! The smile continues…………

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